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Alcohol Alcohol. 2003 Jan-Feb;38(1):35-9.

Reward craving and withdrawal relief craving: assessment of different motivational pathways to alcohol intake.

Author information

  • 1Department of Addictive Behaviour and Addiction Medicine, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

AIMS:

Craving for the rewarding effects of alcohol may be evoked by conditioned alcohol-like effects whereas conditioned compensatory responses may induce withdrawal relief craving. We tested the hypothesis that drinking in positive emotional states is associated with appetitive reactions to alcohol-associated cues and contributes to reward craving, while conditioned withdrawal is associated with drinking in negative situations and distressful, obsessive preoccupations with alcohol.

METHODS:

In 38 detoxified alcoholics, the Obsessive Compulsive Drinking Scale was used to assess the craving factors 'impaired control', 'interference with social functioning' and 'obsession'. Affective responses to alcohol-associated visual stimuli were measured with the affect-modulated eyeblink startle reflex, positive and negative drinking situations with the Inventory of Drinking Situations (IDS) and withdrawal-like symptoms preceding alcohol intake with the revised Clinical Institute Assessment for Alcohol Scale (CIWA-Ar).

RESULTS:

Appetitive reactions to alcohol-associated cues correlated positively with drinking in positive situations and contributed significantly to the craving factor 'interference' with social and work functioning. The severity of withdrawal-like symptoms preceding alcohol intake contributed to the craving factor 'obsession'; however, contrary to our hypothesis, this measure of conditioned withdrawal correlated with drinking not only in negative but also in positive situations.

CONCLUSIONS:

Drinking in positive and negative situations, appetitive reactions to alcohol and withdrawal-like symptoms contributed differentially to the craving factors 'obsession' and 'interference', supporting the notion of different craving factors with separate underlying mechanisms.

PMID:
12554605
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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